Separation of Church and State; Fact or Fallacy?

Separation of Church and State;

Fact or Fallacy?

By

S A Campbell


It is often claimed when there is a controversy involving religion and a public institution that there is a violation of the separation of church and state. Many liberals claim that there is some kind of constitutionally ordained separation of church and state. That somehow displaying any kind of religious artifact or symbol is unconstitutional and therefore illegal. Is this argument correct? Just what exactly is this ‘separation of church and state’? Is it contained in the United States Constitution? Is it based on a legal decision? Does it really have any legal basis? Or is it a misunderstanding or distortion, deliberate or honest misunderstanding, of something? The truth may be surprising as to its origin and its true intent. Further could the reverse apply to the probation banning any display of religious articles at the workplace; could such bans, in fact, be a violation of certain definite Constitutional provisions?

A Constitutional Basis?

Since the United States Constitution is the basis for our laws we should first see what, if anything, the Constitution says about religion. Does the Constitution state that there is to be no display of religious objects in public (i.e. government) buildings? Does the Constitution give the Federal government the right or power to regulate religion and/or religious expression? Is there a ‘separation of church and state’ as proclaimed by many liberals?

The First Amendment deals directly with religious freedom and the government’s powers relating to it. Many can, somewhat accurately, quote the first part of the amendment which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” This is the only direct reference to religion and the Federal government’s relation to it in the Constitution. Strangely if one looks at what it says and what it doesn’t say, one is strained to find the smallest parcel of support for the argument that the Constitution forbids any display of any religious items. What exactly does it establish or prevent?

An examination of the wording may reveal what this part of the First Amendment intends. Specifically, the words ‘respecting’ and ‘establishment’; these two words have a couple of different meaning, each of which could affect ones interpretation.

The first word, respecting, has two meanings; they are ‘in view of’ (i.e considering) and ‘with respect to’ (i.e. concerning)[1]. Although either meaning could be correct, it would seem that the second meaning is the meaning intended. In other words this part of the First Amendment could be rendered that Congress shall not make any laws concerning an establishment of religion.

The next word under consideration, ‘establishment’ has three definitions which could, depending on the one selected, potentially make or break the liberal’s argument. The three definitions are; first, something established : as a : a settled arrangement; especially : a code of laws b : established church c : a permanent civil or military organization d : a place of business or residence with its furnishings and staff e : a public or private institution. Second; an established order of society: as a often capitalized : a group of social, economic, and political leaders who form a ruling class (as of a nation) b often capitalized : a controlling group <the literary establishment. Third;a : the act of establishing b : the state of being established.[2]

It would seem at first glance that any of the above definitions could be used. A look at the historical context may help in deciding what is intended. Recall that one of the underlying motives for people to come to the New World was religious freedom; the right to worship as one thought right and proper. In fact religious freedom was, according to President Thomas Jefferson, one of the primary objects of the rebellion.[3]

Unlike today’s society, religion was very prevalent in the Revolutionary period, although not as powerful as it had been in the Middle Ages. Further England had an official religion, the Church of England. The newly formed country did not want to replicate the mistakes and weaknesses or abuses that existed in the English monarchy. They did not want a strong central government with almost dictatorial powers. One of the reasons for the formation of the Bill of Rights was to enumerate the rights of the citizens; the rights and liberties along with the limitations placed upon the Federal government regarding these liberties.

So it would seem that what the beginning of the First Amendment is referring to is a limit or prohibition of the Federal Government’s ability to control religious organizations; to control or direct religious teaching and/or practices. That this is the intent can be found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that...of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.[4]

In fact President Jefferson said that our freedom of religion is one of the most “inalienable and sacred of all human rights."[5]He later amplified his thoughts about religious freedom;

The rights [to religious freedom] are of the natural rights of mankind, and... if any act shall be... passed to repeal [an act granting those rights] or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.[6]

For further confirmation of his strong belief on restricting, if not denying, governmental control over religion one need only read his proposal for religious freedom that he submitted to the Virginia legislature in 1779. Although too lengthy to reproduce here entirely, we need to cite portions of it to show why Mr. Jefferson was so adamant about keeping the government out of controlling religion. In the first section of the proposal he states;

…that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time:

A little later he explains one of the dangers in allowing the government to control religious thought and teachings;

…yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

 

Finally, it is within the second section of the proposal that we find confirmation of our argument that the intent of the First Amendment is in prohibiting the Federal Government from dictating what a religion is or how it is to operate;

…that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

Obviously there was a valid concern that if the government was able to regulate religions they (i.e. the churches) would soon be more concerned about being ‘politically correct’ then being religiously correct. Thomas Jefferson stated that this, religious freedom, was the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights."[7] Further, Mr. Jefferson believed that the “…government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government…”[8]

This is quite clearly enumerated in the second part of the opening line of the First Amendment; “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” It’s strange that a lot of people claiming there’s a constitutionally declared separation of church and state fail to recall this part of the First Amendment. It is quite clear in its meaning. It is a violation of the Constitution to restrict the exercise of ones religious beliefs; in other words, it’s against the law! It would seem that there is little room for argument of the legality of laws prohibiting the display of religious symbols or items. It would also raise serious questions about the validity of suits demanding that displays of the Ten Commandments or crosses must be removed from public places. It would seem that one could claim that such action is a clear violation of the First Amendment.

The Wall of Separation

So there is no solid Constitutional basis for prohibiting the display of religious articles or symbols, so where does one find this separation of church and state that many liberals espouse? Is it from some legal decision or some subsequent law passed by Congress? The ‘wall of separation’ that many erroneously attribute to the US Constitution is nothing more than a statement in a letter responding to a certain religious minority.

The letter was written in 1802 by President Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association. The Danbury Baptists were a religious minority in the State of Connecticut and they were writing the President for advice on an issue concerning them and their religious freedoms. Essentially they were wanting the President to enlighten them as to whether their religious freedoms were “immutable rights” or "favors granted” by the State legislator.[9]

President Jefferson was careful not to address the situation directly; instead his response dealt with the Federal Government’s restrictions. It should be pointed out that at the time the Federal Government was not the all-powerful behemoth it is today. States right’s was a very volatile subject and something that was fiercely defended by the States. The Federal Government really was unable and/or unwilling to interfere. It is in President Jefferson’s reply that one finds the ‘wall of separation’ clause. An examination of his response will show that he is not proclaiming what the liberals are claiming.

Following is the part of President Jefferson’s response where is found the ‘wall of separation’ clause;

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.[10]

One is hard pressed to find any type of support for the argument that having a copy of the Ten Commandments displayed in a courthouse is somehow violating the separation of church and state clause. The wall of separation that President Jefferson mentions is the Constitutional prohibition on the Government being able to regulate or control religious thought or practices. In simpler terms; the First Amendment.

He further reinforces this idea with his next sentence;

Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.[11]

It is quite clear that President Jefferson is not speaking of a ban of religion in the public domain or official places, but instead he reiterates the position that he has consistently maintained, that the Federal Government is forbidden to regulate religious organizations. Nowhere does President Jefferson express a belief, directly or indirectly, that religion should or could be banned from government property. He continuously expressed his belief that the Government is banned from meddling in religion; that the legitimate powers of the legislators are to regulate the actions of the people and not their opinions.[12] It would appear that he never diverted from this belief;

I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority.[13]

Closing Thoughts

While it is apparent that President Jefferson did not suggest a separation of church and state, but instead believed that the US Government was prohibited by the Constitution from meddling in the beliefs, practices and doctrines of religions in this country. Mr. Jefferson did not however believe in allowing religious organizations free run of their protected status.

Mr. Jefferson believed that as long as religious organizations and their leaders stuck to preaching the Gospel and teaching their followers the tenets of their faith there was no problem. However, when they strayed from teaching of the Bible and into the field of politics or the conduct of the administration it was a “…breach of contract, depriving their audience of the kind of service for which they are salaried.”[14] He appeared to believe that when ministers began to lecture their congregations on such topics it was, in a sense, an abuse of their power.

President Jefferson did advocate a restriction on an aspect of religious freedom and that is in regard to religious organizations being able to teach in public schools; “No religious reading, instruction or exercise, shall be prescribed or practiced [in the elementary schools]…”[15] This was not an outright ban of any religious teaching in the public schools as the later part shows; “…inconsistent with the tenets of any religious sect or denomination."[16]

So there is no Constitutional declared separation of church and state as many liberals claim. That the wall of separation of church and state is actually a statement of a President’s belief of a legal situation and not a actual law. So their claim that displaying a copy of the Ten Commandments or a cross in a government facility is a violation of the Constitution is clearly erroneous. That in fact the opposite may apply; that any statute that prevents the displaying of such items is a violation of the First Amendment.

It is vital that the citizens of this country be knowledgeable about our Constitution; about what it says and doesn’t.


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Endnotes

[1] Merriam-Webster

[2] Merriam-Webster

[3] Thomas Jefferson to Baltimore Baptists, 1808

[4] Thomas Jefferson, Reply to Baptist Address, 1807

[5] Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes, 1819. ME 19:416

[6] Thomas Jefferson: Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779. (*) ME 2:303, Papers 2:546


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[7] Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes an inalienable right

[8] Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Miller, 1808

[9] The address of the Danbury Baptists Association in the state of Connecticut, assembled October 7, 1801. To Thomas Jefferson, Esq., President of the United States of America. 

[10] Thomas Jefferson, Jan.1.1802.


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[11] IBID

[12] IBID

[13] Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Miller, 1808

[14] Thomas Jefferson to P. H. Wendover, 1815

[15] Thomas Jefferson: Elementary School Act, 1817

[16] IBID

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Comments 46 comments

Rupert COrnelius Ozolins 6 years ago

You won't find a list of all the exact things government agencies can and can't do. That would be a ridiculously long list. What you have is the idea that they can't respect one religion over another (directly from First Amendment). This covers placing religious symbols in places of honor. If you honor the Judeo- Christian Ten Commandments, you would have to honor the Muslim Five Pillars, and who knows what other religious symbols.

So yes, you are right nowhere in the Constitution or any government document, or any writings of the founding fathers does it say you can't show the Ten Commandments.

But it does say very clearly in the Constitution congress can not respect one religion over another. Unless congress plans on honoring symbols from every religion with believers in America, they would be better off honoring none.

Rupert.Cornelius.Ozolins.III@gmail.com


Brother Wayne 6 years ago

Hello Brother/Sister

Hello Brother or Sister, I am Brother Wayne, a missionary of the Blue Water Church of Creativity, affiliated with the Creativity Alliance.

May I tell you more about our religion? Our religion, CREATIVITY, is a religion based on the Laws of nature as revealed through Science, History, Logic and Common Sense. Our Salubrious Living Idea is: A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY IN A SOUND COMMUNITY IN A SOUND ENVIROMENT.

We believe in living in-tune with the environment and with our biological make-up. We have dietary rules spelled out in Salubrious Living, a health book written by our founder, P.M.E. Ben Klassen.

Our religion and church are totally dedicated to the building of a “Whiter and Brighter World,” with a future for the children of our own biological species deep in mind…

We are for the Survival, Expansion and Advancement of our own species/kind on the face of this planet, the only planet where man has been known to dwell, or will ever dwell in the future. We have good reason to be for the survival of our own kind in accord with Nature’s laws.

This planet that we live on can only feed and hold so many people. Realistically, the White countries of Europe and the world have extremely low birth-rates while the non-White countries are expanding; both in misery due to not being able to hold their own, and also in a rapidly expanding birth-giving phenomena. We need a solution so that the White Race will continue on as a unique biological specie. It is my firm belief that CREATIVITY provides the solution to the problems that we are faced with.

I believe that a person worth their salt investigates what they read to see if it is true. We CREATORS, followers of CREATIVITY, do not demand that you believe what we say. We do, however, strongly encourage you to examine for yourself to see if what we are saying is true.

By simply reading a book, The White Man’s Bible, you will gain an accurate knowledge of the problem and how to solve it. That book with about 8 others are available at the Creativity Alliance website: creativityalliance.com

You have nothing to loose in your pursuit of the truth. Wont you do it for your family and above all, your extended family?

Fell free to contact us and visit our websites:

creativityalliance.com, smokymountaincreator.org, bluewaterchurchofcreativity.blogspot.com, sacreator.com, pacreator.com, smokymountaincreator.org

Racially yours,

Brother Wayne

B.W.C.O.C.

RAHOWA!


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 5 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

All accomodationist interpretations of the First Amendment hold that the establishment clause is a limited denial of power, i.e., that the clause restricted only some powers of the Federal government (in particular, the powers to establish a national religion, or to aid religion preferentially), while leaving other powers dealing with religion intact. As we suggest elsewhere, this surely wasn't the opinion of the framers; the framers wanted to circumvent religious controversy entirely by removing religion from the power of government. But beyond this, there is nothing in the wording of the establishment clause that supports this reading; the clause is general and broadly phrased, and doesn't seem to make exceptions for either non-national or non-preferential establishments.

We begin by noting that nothing the establishment clause appears to limit its applicability to national establishments of religion (or, alternatively, to establishments of a national religion). On the contrary, the words "establishment" and "religion" are left unmodified, as we would expect if they were intended broadly. Similarly, the clause doesn't distinguish between preferential and non-preferential establishments; accomodationists create this distinction without one word of grounding in the text. Rather, as pointed out by legal scholar Douglas Laycock, the version of the establishment clause adopted by the First Congress "is one of the broadest versions considered by either House:"

It forbids not only establishments, but also any law respecting or relating to an establishment. Most importantly, it forbids any law respecting an establishment of "religion." It does not say "a religion," "a national religion," "one sect or society," or "any particular denomination of religion." It is religion generically that may not be established ("Nonpreferential Aid to Religion: A False Claim about Original Intent," William and Mary Law Review, vol. 27, 1986, p. 881).

Conversely, the free exercise clause does contain limiting language, although accomodationists don't read this clause narrowly. To illustrate this narrowness, compare the free exercise and free speech clauses:

o Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

o Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech.

As noted by Constitutional scholar Leonard Levy:

The framers of the amendment deliberately used different verbs in the freedom of religion and freedom of the press clauses....If the framers meant what they said and said what they meant, then Congress may abridge the free exercise of religion so long as Congress does not prohibit it. (pp. 118; emphasis ours)

Hence, the accomodationist interpretation of the religion clauses seems to clash with the language of the First Amendment. If any of the religion clauses is to be taken broadly, it is the establishment clause. If any of the religion clauses is to be read narrowly, it is the free exercise clause. This is exactly opposite the practice of most accomodationists. Whatever merit there may be in the accomodationist approach, it is not to be found in the language of the First Amendment.

The separationist approach is to read both clauses broadly, and to understand the limiting language of the free exercise clause as an artifact of the framing process. We doubt, for example, that the framers attached any significance at all to their use of different verbs in the free exercise and free speech clauses. As Levy himself notes, the intent of the clauses was to reinforce the complete absence of federal power over religion and speech, which makes the choice of verbs unimportant; Congress is not suddenly granted the power to abridge free exercise because the free exercise clause only bars only prohibitions.

The word "respecting:"

The establishment clause does more than ban the federal government from establishing religion; it bars even laws respecting establishment. This language is far more consistent with the broad reading of the clause than it is with any version of accomodationism. To quote again from Levy:

The First Amendment does not say that Congress shall not establish a religion or create an establishment of religion. It says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Whether "respecting" connotes honoring or concerning, the clause means that Congress shall make no law on that subject. The ban is not just on establishments of religion but on laws respecting them, a fact that allows a law to fall short of creating an establishment yet still be unconstitutional. The entire nonpreferentialist argument reduces to the proposition that, although a law preferring one religion over others would be unconstitutional, government aid to all without preference to any would be constitutional. But if government cannot pass a law on the subject of an establishment of religion, whether the aid is to all without preference or to only one makes no difference. A law of either kind is a law on a forbidden subject and therefore unconstitutional. (The Establishment Clause, p. 118, second emphasis ours).

The word "thereof:"

An overlooked aspect of the free exercise clause is that it looks back to the establishment clause for its definition of "religion;" the establishment clause says that Congress may make no law respecting the establishment of "religion," while the free exercise clause says that Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise "thereof." Logically, the word "thereof" must have the same content as the object to which it refers. Accordingly, what counts as "religion" for one clause must count as "religion" for the other.

Critically, the free exercise clause makes no sense unless the word "religion" is read to encompass more than a church, denomination, or sect. On the contrary, it is common ground that the state abridges free exercise when it interferes with only small parts of an individual's religious practice. The state, for example, abridges free exercise when it tells student they cannot pray during school, even if it allows them complete freedom to practice all other aspects of their faith. Similarly, the state cannot tell a church it can't erect a nativity scene on its front lawn even if the church is otherwise left free to use its property as it wishes. Private prayer and nativity scenes are protected by the free exercise clause despite the fact that neither of these practices constitute religions in and of themselves.

If prayer and nativity scenes count as "religion" for the purposes of the free exercise clause, they must also count as "religion" for the purposes of the establishment clause. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a student she cannot pray, so to does it establish religion when it requires prayer to be said in the schools. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a church it can't set up a nativity scene, so to does it establish religion when it sets up a nativity scene on government land at public expense. The state does not cross the line to establishment only when it goes to the trouble and expense of setting up a state church; it crosses that line when it sets up any religious practice that constitutes "religion" for the purposes of free exercise. To the extent that accomodationists want to read the "thereof" in the free exercise clause broadly, they must also accept a broad reading of "religion" in the establishment clause.

In your argument it's noted that your concern is over the governments meddling into religion. To understand the 1st Amendment requires that you first understand that it's a two way street on this matter. In order to ensure that religious freedom is there for all, it must be made clear that this can never happen if religion is allowed to meddle into and dominate government. That simply introduces a Theocracy and the very religious tyranny that Jefferson and Madison sought to avoid.

To gain a very clear view on this subject you might want to consult the Detached Memoranda by Madison. He was after all


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 5 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

Brother Wayne. I realize that this post was made ten months ago and you might not be around here any longer, but I looked at a website regarding your religion. I found this.

THE FIVE FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS OF CREATIVITY

•WE BELIEVE that our Race is our Religion.

•WE BELIEVE that the White Race is Nature's Finest.

•WE BELIEVE that racial loyalty is the greatest of all honors, and racial treason is the worst of all crimes.

•WE BELIEVE that what is good for the White Race is the highest virtue, and what is bad for the White Race is the ultimate sin.

•WE BELIEVE that the one and only, true and revolutionary White Racial Religion - Creativity - is the only salvation for the White Race.

I'm not really a person that cares about what people believe. I'm really more interested in the Truth which I think might be more important than some belief system. Can you demonstrate for me the Truth of your beliefs? They don't appear to be demonstrably true. If they were then we would all see them as clearly objectively obvious to all. But, like all religions, that isn't happening. I requires me to suspend my disbelief and simply accept it on faith. I'm interested only in Truth as I consider it the highest of values. Surely you wouldn't deny that Truth is more important than some ideology concocted by man? Perhaps you're a relativist who doesn't believe in absolute Truth. What happens when your ideological theory of rationality collides with the truth. Which is more important to you? Will you reject your belief and embrace Truth? Or..will you deny Truth in favor of some man made theory of rationality that has told you what you should believe and continue to live a lie?


Marquis profile image

Marquis 4 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

It would be best to finish the whole thing and not cutting it off at "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

It also means that any of the members of the lawmaking bodies have no right to make laws to shut down religious freedom at all. I also believe the current president is violating the First Amendment when it comes to Catholics.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

Ok, Marquis. Go ahead and take a good look at the sentence which is broken into two clauses. "Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise thereof" makes no sense without referring back to the establishment clause to get its meaning. "Thereof" what?? Religion, which is spelled out in the establishment clause.

What it means (if you understand grammer and basic logic) is that whatever you regard as religion for the purposes of free excercise, MUST also logically be regarded as religion for the purposes of establishment. When it comes to the argument that you're making, which is over birth control, you must admit that birth control is not a religion. If you are going to use birth control for the purposes of free exercise, and claim it as a religious subject, then you must also regard birth control as establishment. Neither you nor any church can compel congress to make a law that would deny people access to something based upon a religious belief. To do so, violates the establishment clause: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a student she cannot pray, so too does it establish religion when it requires prayer to be said in the schools. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a church it must provide contraception coverage, so too does it establish religion when it makes a law that would deny contraception coverage to people based on a religious exemption to those outside the realm of the church at public expense.

To the extent that you want to read the "thereof" in the free exercise clause broadly, you must also accept a broad reading of "religion" in the establishment clause

There is no violation of he first Amendment by the president. The church doesn't have to provide contraception coverage so the point is moot.


Ignorance 4 years ago

One can be ignorant and one can be blind. This defines the racial, self-righteous statements you have made. White race is not nature's finest. We as a people ARE NATURE'S FINEST. The one and only, true and revolutionary White Racial Religion - Creativity - is the only salvation for the White Race. NOT. For this world to be diverse and successful you MUST take down to boundaries and open your mind Mister. Ignorance is bliss. You need a little color(BLACK) to possibly BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY. You nice Klu Klux Klan member!


sacoh58 4 years ago Author

RE Ignorance -- "There is, in the natural world, a little, spotted contemptible animal, which is armed by nature with a fetid, volatile, penetrating virus, which so pollutes whoever attacks it, as to make him offensive to himself and all around him for a long time. Indeed, he is almost incapable of purification. Nothing, sir, no insult shall provoke me to crush so filthy a beast."

Thaddeus Stevens


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"Many can, somewhat accurately, quote the first part of the amendment which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

Actually most of us know that it's divided into two clauses. The Establishment clause, AND the Free Ex. Clause. So, I don't know exactly what you mean by "many".

"This is the only direct reference to religion and the Federal government’s relation to it in the Constitution."

That's not really true. For the sake of accuracy it should be pointed out that Article VI states, "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." Article VI and the First Amendment are the only TWO places in the constitution that address religion.

"Unlike today’s society, religion was very prevalent in the Revolutionary period, although not as powerful as it had been in the Middle Ages."

This part is not true. Religion actually had very little importance during our Revolutionary period unlike what we see today. As we all know, many of our founders were actually deists, and if you know anything about deism you'd know that it has no doctrine. Try to find anybody in Congress today that doesn't belong to some organized religion. You'll be hard pressed to do so. Perhaps you have some data that would support your claim. I'd like to see it.

"The rights [to religious freedom] are of the natural rights of mankind, and... if any act shall be... passed to repeal [an act granting those rights] or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right."

Jefferson was right about that. Of course he also meant the freedom to have no religion whatsoever. Religion is a matter of ones own personal conscience. Essentially since Religion is a matter of ones own conscience, Jefferson was an advocate of the freedom of ones own conscience. He and people like Paine were of course, Freethinkers.That embodies the Freedom From Religion which makes sense, since I can't be free to practice my own religion, unless I'm free from the tyranny of yours. This is why the Pilgrims came here in the first place. The were not Free FROM the Religion of the King. They had to leave to find it for themselves, which they did. Of course then they imposed their own religious tyranny on those in their own community, which resulted in people leaving to form new colonies of their own. Rhode Island became the first to have true Religious Freedom.

"This is quite clearly enumerated in the second part of the opening line of the First Amendment; “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” It’s strange that a lot of people claiming there’s a constitutionally declared separation of church and state fail to recall this part of the First Amendment"

I think what's really strange is that you would assume that they don't. But even stranger yet, is that you're overlooking an important part of that clause: Free exercise Thereof....Thereof what?? The clause by itself has no meaning. Let me explain; The Amendment reads:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

Accomodationists (which I assume you are)are leaping with both feet on the “Free- Ex” clause of the amendment and waving it wildly in the air, while ignoring the “Establishment Clause”. That won't get them anywhere.

The First Amendment forbids not only establishments, but also any law respecting or relating to an establishment. Most importantly, it forbids any law respecting an establishment of "religion." It does not say "a religion," "a national religion," "one sect or society," or "any particular denomination of religion." It is religion generically that may not be established.

Compare these two phrases:

• Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

• Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech.

Clearly the first example makes no sense on its own. It must refer back to the establishment clause to get its meaning. If the framers meant what they said and said what they meant, then Congress may abridge the free exercise of religion so long as Congress does not prohibit it. “Freedom of religion embraces two concepts, - freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be”. Cantwell v. Connecticut.

The establishment clause does more than ban the federal government from establishing religion; it bars even laws respecting establishment.

The First Amendment does not say that Congress shall not establish a religion or create an establishment of religion. It says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Whether "respecting" means honoring or concerning, the clause means that Congress shall make no law on that subject. The ban is not just on establishments of religion but on laws respecting them, a fact that allows a law to fall short of creating an establishment yet still be unconstitutional.

An overlooked aspect of the free exercise clause which is a blind spot among Accomodationists, is that it looks back to the establishment clause for its definition of "religion." The establishment clause says that Congress may make no law respecting an establishment of "religion," while the free exercise clause says that Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise "thereof." Logically, the word "thereof" must have the same content as the object to which it refers. Accordingly, what counts as "religion" for one clause must count as "religion" for the other. What does that mean??

The free exercise clause makes no sense unless the word "religion" is read to encompass more than a church, denomination, or sect. The state abridges free exercise when it interferes with only small parts of an individual's religious practice. The state, for example, abridges free exercise when it tells students they cannot pray during school, even if it allows them complete freedom to practice all other aspects of their faith. Similarly, the state cannot tell a church it must provide contraception coverage even if the church is otherwise left free to use its property as it wishes.

Private prayer and contraception are protected by the free exercise clause despite the fact that neither of these practices constitutes religions in and of themselves.

If prayer and contraception count as "religion" for the purposes of the free exercise clause, they must also count as "religion" for the purposes of the establishment clause. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a student she cannot pray, so too does it establish religion when it requires prayer to be said in the schools. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a church it must provide contraception coverage, so too does it establish religion when it makes a law that would deny contraception coverage to people based on a religious objection/exemption to those outside the realm of the church at public expense. The state does not cross the line to establishment only when it goes to the trouble and expense of setting up a state church; it crosses that line when it sets up any religious practice that constitutes "religion" for the purposes of free exercise. To the extent that Accomodationists want to read the "thereof" in the free exercise clause broadly, they must also accept a broad reading of "religion" in the establishment clause.

I ran this exact argument by a professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard. Professor Richard Fallon Jr. He agreed with the logic.

Logic and basic grammer dictate that you can't have it both ways. Always remember that the "Free ex thereof" must refer BACK to the establishment clause for it's meaning. Whatever counts as religion for the purpose of "free ex", MUST also count as religion for the purpose of establishment. When you demand that the Government respect your free exercise, you are demanding that the government establish law based on your religion.

It seems that James Madison was a very clever man.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"One is hard pressed to find any type of support for the argument that having a copy of the Ten Commandments displayed in a courthouse is somehow violating the separation of church and state clause."

Suppose you went into a courtroom and there was a crescent moon haning above the judge? Would you have a problem?? When I go into a courthouse, I expect to see an American Flag, probably the State Flag, and that's it. I would be startled to see a plaque showing a Star of David over the judge. I would likewise be startled to see a Crescent Moon over the bench. I'm in a courtroom. Not a church, or a synagogue, or a mosque. The judge is expected to rule on the statutes of the state, or the constitution and nothing else should interfere with that, including his religious beliefs which he is clearly displaying for all to see that enter his courtroom. Since that court is established through our constitution and our congress, a religious display of the 10 commandments or any other religion is in complete violation of the first Amendment, and nothing less than an act of intimidation to anyone appearing before that court. The court must never be influenced by things outside of the Laws and statutes of the US. Clearly religious symbols would indicate otherwise. Any judge that would consider that important is not a judge acting in accordance with the law. What if I don't subscribe to the judges religion? How would I know that his decision isn't based on a religion that I reject? Judge Roy Moore tried doing this in Alabama and was impeached for it. A visable bais is now injected into the legal system. Perhaps you have no problem with that as long as it reflects your own religious beliefs. You might think otherwise if they showed the judge had Muslim leanings.


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"He continuously expressed his belief that the Government is banned from meddling in religion; that the legitimate powers of the legislators are to regulate the actions of the people and not their opinions"

Jefferson also expressed his fear that religion should never meddle in government. It was a two way street with him, and rightly so. The last thing he wanted was to see religion take over government. That would have set us back to the Old Europe that he rejected. I can't imagine you would agree to living under a religious theocracy...unless it happens to be yours.

His actual statement in the Danbury Letter reads; "the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions". All religions are matters of opinion. Jefferson was quite adament about religion never dictating the role of government.

The separation of church and state is very easy to understand. It's a necessary requirement of a democracy. It isn't a matter of it being stated as such in the constitution. Using that as the basis of an argument is silly. It doesn't have to have that wording to grasp it's meaning. The constitution also makes no mention of the separation of powers, but I'm pretty sure that you'd agree that it exists. In fact...nowhere in the constitution are the words Religious Freedom to be found. Yet we all agree that it's an important concept, even though the constitution doesn't use those exact words.

In order for a Democratic Republic to exist, the church and the state MUST be separated. The state must never meddle in the affairs of the church, and the church must not meddle in the affairs of state. The church is a tax exempt entity. To the extent that they want to maintain that exception, they must agree to stay out of the affairs of state. We don't govern according to anybody's religion here. That's what they do in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Why would we reject something that has served us so well, for something that has served others so poorly?

Enjoy your religion, just keep it out of my government please. It's yours. Not mine. Thank you.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"Mr. Jefferson believed that as long as religious organizations and their leaders stuck to preaching the Gospel and teaching their followers the tenets of their faith there was no problem. However, when they strayed from teaching of the Bible and into the field of politics or the conduct of the administration it was a “…breach of contract, depriving their audience of the kind of service for which they are salaried.”

I find it pretty amazing that you're telling everyone what Jefferson; probably the most complex president we've ever had; believed. Dumas Malone wrote the most definitive biography of Jefferson. It took 6 volumes, and he said that he still couldn't explain the mans beliefs. Malone was awarded the Presidents Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan. But you are going to tell us what Jefferson believed?? Sounds a bit grandiose don't you think?

I'll give you an example. You say this: "Mr. Jefferson believed that as long as religious organizations and their leaders stuck to preaching the Gospel and teaching their followers the tenets of their faith there was no problem. However, when they strayed from teaching of the Bible and into the field of politics or the conduct of the administration it was a “…breach of contract, depriving their audience of the kind of service for which they are salaried" This is way out of right field.

For one thing, Thomas Jefferson wasn't a Christian so the Bible was irrelevent to him. As you probably know he created what is called the Jefferson Bible, by taking a knife to every mention of the miracles in the 4 Gospels and removing them, leaving only the philosophy of the man...Jesus. Without the miracles there is no religion. What Christian would take a knife to the Bible and remove the very things that make it a religion?? It is the miracles that make it a religion. He removed the very thing that is vital to making it a religion. Without the miracles there is no divinity, and without that...no connection to God.

Secondly, as you already know, Jefferson would never meddle in the affairs of the church including the saleries paid to the clergy or what they were teaching. That would violate the first Amendment, as well as his own take on religious freedom. Your assumption here is that he was overly concerned with the methods or subject matter of the preachers of Christianity, when he considered it none of his or the governments business as stated in the Danbury Letter. This is a pretty outrageous assumption on your part. There is no substance to this claim. No logic either.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"So their claim that displaying a copy of the Ten Commandments or a cross in a government facility is a violation of the Constitution is clearly erroneous."

It was an interesting Hub, but I'm afraid you didn't prove your claim. Clearly in a government that presides over a multitude of religious beliefs and non-beliefs, the display of particular religious symbols on buildings or in court houses that are paid for by the taxpayers, is not in the interest of the citizens. Why should I pay taxes to support YOUR religion? Frankly, I don't care about your religion, so to pay taxes on a building in order for you to display your religion, is pretty offensive. Our founders understood that. Our SCOTUS gets it. We have people from all different religious beliefs in this country. We don't play favorites. You should understand that if it's Religious Freedom that you want, you need to stop attempting to insert your own beliefs into what is a secular government by design. It's the Separation of Church and State that provides you with the Relgious Freedom that you hold dear.


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wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

Terrific research! The liberals who've tried to silence the christian voice in America have taken the notion of the separation of church and state totally out of its context. The words and actions of the founders clarely point to a nation shaped by christian values and ideals.

The separation between the church and the state is only an institutional separation on the federal level only.

The First Amendment imposes a restriction only on the government not to impose a state sponsered denomination as was the case in Britain and most of Europe. The church was not to be restricted at all in its influence on the government as is the case with our free and independent press.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"The separation between the church and the state is only an institutional separation on the federal level only."

I'm afraid you're wrong. The 14th Amendment requires all the states to abide by the US Constitution which says, "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States". Every one in every state is protected by the first Amendment. Every state has dis-established itself from the church. We have freedom of religion because of it.

"The First Amendment imposes a restriction only on the government not to impose a state sponsered denomination as was the case in Britain and most of Europe."

Really?? Then you should be able to point out exactly where it says that. Go ahead, we'll wait.

"The church was not to be restricted at all in its influence on the government as is the case with our free and independent press."

You are pretty ignorant on this aren't you? Do you actually think that organizations that are tax exempt are invited to influence the state? What do you base that on? To allow the church to influence in anyway the laws of the United States violates the establishment clause which says, "congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." I'm afraid you'll have to accept the FACT that your "Christian Voice" has no louder voice than any other religion in this country.

"The words and actions of the founders clarely point to a nation shaped by christian values and ideals."

Yet it's so interesting that a non-Christian wrote the Declaration of Independence. Do you really think a man with the integrity and reputation of Jefferson, would succumb to the whims of a bunch of Christians and write something he didn't believe in?? The D of I is a deist document to the core. Nowhere in it or the constitution is the word Christian to be found.

I'm afraid you'll have to be content with simply going to church on Sunday's. We're not going to be legislating your beliefs any time soon.


sacoh58 4 years ago Author

RE adagio4639

In your long winded diatribe you made a number of references to "my religion" would you please cite exactly where I proclaimned what "my religion" was or for that matter where I promoted the superiority or excellence of any religion? You claimed that the word Christian is not found throughout the Declaration or the Constitution while this is true the purpose of the two documents was basically the creation of a new government and not a religious treatise. You claim that Thomas Jefferson was a "non-Christian" would you please explain his words within the Declaration "...which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them...they are endowed by their Creator...appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world...with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence" For a non-Christian those words seem rather religious in tone.

You claimed that a court room should be bear of any religous items and while I do not have extensive courtroom appearances I am not aware of any courtrooms having copies of the Ten Commandments in them you claim a courtroom should be bare of any religious artifacts and yet you said that the only thing that should be present ois the US flag and the state flag but what of the religious symbols contained withinh the US flag? The pentagram, the five-pointed star, is a prominent symbol within the Wiccan religion.

Please cite where within the US Constitution it is stated that government building and/or land is protected ground and ANY religious article or symbol is forbidden? If this is so then why do litigants raise the right hand and swear to tell the truth?

The purpose of the article was not, as apparently you assumed, to push for a specific religion but to show that there is no constitutional basis for the claim of a separation of church and state; that the wall of separation is a misuse of what Thomas Jefferson wrote.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"cite exactly where I proclaimned what "my religion" was or for that matter where I promoted the superiority or excellence of any religion? "

Sure. "One is hard pressed to find any type of support for the argument that having a copy of the Ten Commandments displayed in a courthouse is somehow violating the separation of church and state clause." Clearly if you're offering the Ten Commandments you're referring to either Judaism, or Christianity.

"You claimed that the word Christian is not found throughout the Declaration or the Constitution while this is true the purpose of the two documents was basically the creation of a new government and not a religious treatise"

I don't claim it. I point to it as a fact. But you seem to be building a Straw Man here. It goes without saying that both Documents were not a religious treatise. You have no argument from me on that. However the D of I, was not a framework for a govt. It was a pronouncement of our grievences against the Crown and our separation from it. There is no indication of what kind of govt that would be. That as you know was the constitution.

"You claim that Thomas Jefferson was a "non-Christian" would you please explain his words within the Declaration "...which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them...they are endowed by their Creator...appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world...with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence" For a non-Christian those words seem rather religious in tone."

Gladly. Show me anywhere in that phrase where the words Christian or Jesus or even Savior appear? Go ahead, look for yourself. You posted it. They don't. So the only thing you have to go on here is that all of those terms are consistant with Jeffersons own Deism. If you're aware of Deism, you'd know that. The very term "Natures God" would tell you that. Even if you aren't, there is nothing in that phrase that wouldn't apply to any religion. Not just Christian. It's universal and Jefferson always chose his words carefully. I'm sure you know that.

"You claimed that a court room should be bear of any religious items and while I do not have extensive courtroom appearances I am not aware of any courtrooms having copies of the Ten Commandments in them."

I try to avoid courtrooms myself. However, I can't imagine that you never heard of Judge Roy Moore, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He not only had a 10 Commandments plaque in his court, when he got elected Chief Justice, he had a 3 ton marble monument of the 10 Commandments placed right in the center of the Rotunda of the Court building. He was ordered to remove it. He defied the order, and was impeached because of it.

"you said that the only thing that should be present ois the US flag and the state flag but what of the religious symbols contained withinh the US flag?"

What religious symbols are hidden in the Stars and Stripes?? You've lost me there. The Stars represent the 50 states, the stripes represent the original 13. What religious symbols are you talking about? Or State flag for that matter.

"The pentagram, the five-pointed star, is a prominent symbol within the Wiccan religion."

Oh please...do you honestly think that there is a single American besides you, that looks at the Flag and says, look at those Wiccan symbols?? What are you smoking? Betsy Ross made the first flag. Was she a Wiccan?? I don't think so.

"Please cite where within the US Constitution it is stated that government building and/or land is protected ground and ANY religious article or symbol is forbidden? If this is so then why do litigants raise the right hand and swear to tell the truth?"

First you need to look at the 9th Amendment. "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." That means that they couldn't think of everything, so just because it doesn't appear, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Secondly, merging religious symbols into our government grounds begs the question, which religious symbols?? Which religion gets the prominent position on the grounds of the Capital for example? That very question opens up hostility amongst all religions, and that's hardly anything that the founders would have wanted. For the government to be seen as favoring one over the others would undermine the very concept of Religious Freedom that they wanted to see. Hence...none would have that opportunity, and the government would function as a government of the people. Not of the Christians.

Finally...you say this: "If this is so then why do litigants raise the right hand and swear to tell the truth?" What they do is swear an Oath or Affirmation to tell the truth under the penalty of purgery. You aren't required to swear any oath on the Bible. That oath would be meaningless if the person testifying were an atheist, or a muslim or a hindu. The very oath of office of the president himself is an oath or affirmation and several presidents have been sworn in without a Bible.

I've studied Jefferson quite a bit. My point here is that your suggestion that his statement on the Separation of Church and State is misused is in error. Thomas Jefferson had no use for any organized religion. He visited many churces during his presidency, but only as an observer of the rituals. The University of Virginia which he founded has never had a Divinity School. He was adament about that. He was concerned that government should never interfere with the individuals conscience, which is where a mans religion or philosophy is found. He was also extremely conscious of the damage that religion could do to government. Hence the Separation of Church and State, or as Madison said in his Detached Memoranda, the separation of Religion and Government. They were in total agreement on this subject, and Madisons Memorial and Remonstrance helped defeat Patrick Henry's Religious Assesment Tax, and he was a supporter of Jeffersons Statutes for Religious Freedom in Virginia. It laid the groundwork for the first Amendment. This country was the first experiment in democracy and that would be impossible when religion interfered with the process. The evidence of that was obvious throughout Europe. Most Europeans couldn't understand how we could form a country that wasn't centered on religion, but eventually they followed our lead. He was an extremely liberal man for his time, and devoted to science. He was one of the first to be inoculated against smallpox. He would certainly have favored stem-cell research. He was an avid botonist and invented the swivel chair. Created the Jefferson Bible by cutting out all references to the miracles which left a beautiful philosophy without a divine religious connection. He hated slavery, but owned slaves. A very complex man and a genius.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 4 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

In his speech on May 12, 1779, George Washington claimed that what children needed to learn “above all” was the “religion of Jesus Christ,” and that to learn this would make them “greater and happier than they already are.”

- George Washington, speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779.

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

- George Washington

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

- George Washington

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.”

- George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation 1789

“Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of Thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy son, Jesus Christ.”

- George Washington, Prayer

“True religion affords to government its surest support.”

- George Washington

Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“I … [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.” - Samuel Adams

“We have this day [Fourth of July] restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His Kingdom come.”

- Samuel Adams

“The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.”

- Samuel Adams

United States Congressional Endorsement of the Bible and God

Congress printed a Bible for America and said:

“The United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States … a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.”

- United States Congress 1782

“Congress passed this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

- United States Congress 1782

“By Law the United States Congress adds to US coinage:”

“In God We Trust”- United States Congress 1864

John Adams, President of the United States of America, First Vice President, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Bill of Rights, and Signer of First Amendment

“We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus.”

- John Adams and John Hancock

“The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – John Adams

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

- John Adams

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

- John Adams

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

- John Adams

“I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.” – John Adams

“The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”

- John Adams

“[The Fourth of July] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” – John Adams

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him.” - John Adams

Abigail Adams, Wife of John Adams

“The Scriptures tell us righteousness exalteth a Nation.”

- Abigail Adams

Patrick Henry, Early America Leader

There is a book [the Bible] worth all the other books ever printed.- Patrick Henry

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.- Patrick Henry

John Jay, First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is their duty – as well as privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

- John Jay

The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.

- John Jay

John Hancock, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus.

- John Adams and John Hancock

Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“The only foundation for . . . a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”

- Benjamin Rush

John Witherspoon, Continental Congress

“He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down on profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.”

- John Witherspoon

John Dickinson, Signer Constitution of the USA, Continental Congress

“The rights essential to happiness. . . . We claim them from a higher source — from the King of kings and Lord of all the earth.”

- John Dickinson

Benjamin Franklin

“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

- Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Jefferson, President

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.

- Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man

- Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

Daniel Webster, Early American Politician

Education is useless without the Bible.

- Daniel Webster

Noah Webster, American Schoolmaster

Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic text book in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.

- Noah Webster

In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.

- Noah Webster, Preface Noah Webster Dictionary, 1828

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

“I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law … There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.”

- Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, Harvard Speech, 1829

National Anthem of the United States of America, Francis Scott Key

“And this be our motto, ‘In God is our trust’” - USA National Anthem, Third Verse

I can add more, but I have no more room for it.


sacoh58 4 years ago Author

Thank you for your response. While many try and deny the strong religious beliefs of our Founding Fathers the quotations you listed surely refute this contention.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 4 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

I know. There were so many, I could not post them all.


sacoh58 4 years ago Author

And yet there will be some that will say that those quotations don't prove a thing.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"In his speech on May 12, 1779, George Washington claimed that what children needed to learn “above all” was the “religion of Jesus Christ,” and that to learn this would make them “greater and happier than they already are.”

This is really interesting. It is a curious fact that George Washington almost never used the expression “Jesus Christ” in his extant writings. The genuine ones, anyway. For George Washington to be commenting on students learning about the religion of Jesus Christ in schools ought to set off anybody’s BS detector. When would he have been likely to say such a thing? As a colonial surveyor? As a soldier in the French and Indian War? As a general during the Revolution? As President of a new nation that had no public school system? He had no kids, but I suppose he could have been commenting on the education of a young relative or friend, but, really—it’s a stretch. It just isn’t likely.

it seems unlikely on the face of it to have come from George Washington.

And of course it didn’t. The genuine document emerged as part of events in the west during the Revolutionary war. The Delaware Indians had been formidable opponents in earlier conflicts, but under the influence of Moravian missionaries, whose pacifistic brand of Christianity dampened their war ardor, they had settled down somewhat. The Continental forces wanted to keep it that way. Efforts to keep the lid on the situation took a blow when in November 1778 influential chief White Eyes died during an American expedition. The official story was that he had caught smallpox; it came out later that he had been murdered by members of the militia. In a last ditch effort to save the peace the pacifist and pro-Christian party among the Delawares sent out an embassy to the Continental Congress. Passing near George Washington’s forces they presented him with their petition. The date was 12 May 1779.

Washington was taken aback. He had no instructions from Congress on how to deal with the situation. The delegation, he wrote,

… presented me with a long memorial on various points, which they intend to present also to Congress. I was a little at a loss what answer to give and could have wished they had made their first application there. But as an answer could not be avoided, I thought it safest to couch it in general but friendly terms and refer them to Congress for a more particular one. Though there is reason to believe, they have not adhered very scrupulously to their pretended friendship, it appeared to me to be our present policy at least to conciliate; and in this spirit my answer was conceived. I hope I may not have deviated from the views of Congress. I send a copy of my answer.

It is this “answer” that contains Washington’s only use of the phrase “Jesus Christ”. The relevant sentence was a reply to their 4th (in part) and 5th points:

4th … The Delaware Nation think they cannot give more ample Testimony than this, of their firm Resolution to continue an inviolate Friendship with the United States of America to the end of time; and for this desirable purpose the said Delaware Nation repeatedly applied to Congress through their Commissioners & Agent, for School Masters and Mistresses to be sent among them, & for useful Tradesmen and Husbandmen to instruct the Youth of their Nation in useful Arts: These, tho expensive at present, may in time be fully repaid to the United States in many respects.

5th That the said Delaware Nation have established a Town where numbers of them have embraced Christianity under the Instruction of the Reverend and worthy Mr David Ziesberger whose honest zealous Labours & good Examples have Induced many of them to listen to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has been a means of introducing considerable order, Regularity and love of Peace into the Minds of the whole Nation—the[y] therefore hope Congress will countenance & promote the Mission of this Gentleman, so far as they may deem expedient; and they may rely that the Delaware Nation will afford every encouragement thereto in their Power.

Washington replied to these points:

My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it.

There is, of course, nothing in this about American schools, or about what students should learn there.

The fake quotation is very modern, probably twenty-first century in origin. I’ve made no special effort to run down its history; the oldest reference Google Books turned up was from 2006, in a book called Is God with America? by Bob Klingenberg (p. 188). The passage there reads:

How far have we fallen? To answer that question, we have but to listen to a quote from President George Washington. On May 12, 1779, speaking to and assuring the Delaware Indian Chiefs, the founding father of America said: “What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” Public education and Christianity were spoken in the same sentence. Ipso facto! Not only would the Indian children learn Christianity in America’s schools, it was the paramount subject in the classroom. President Washington put it his way: “Above all!”

In light of the passages cited above, the rank dishonesty of this account needs no special emphasis.

You've posted a lot of alleged quotes. I could post a lot of posts that would contradict what you've offered but it would take up a lot of space.

The first quote you use of Washington, should have tipped you off. Washington never used the words Jesus, or Christianity with regards to his faith. He always used the word Providence. He was a Free Mason, and his views on religion were pretty private. Sifting through all your other quotes is really time consuming, but the thing you should understand is that what ever anyone held as a private view has nothing to do with what is in our constitutution. That is all that matters here.


sacoh58 4 years ago Author

"what is in our constitutution. That is all that matters here." Then please cite within the words of the Constitution where it is illegal or forbidden the display of ANY religious artifact or item on or in government buildings or land?


Marquis profile image

Marquis 4 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

America is a Christian nation. The lousy atheists and other Leftys try so hard to run afoul and say it is not.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"Then please cite within the words of the Constitution where it is illegal or forbidden the display of ANY religious artifact or item on or in government buildings or land?"

I already told you this. It doesn't have to say that specifically since the First Amendment already addresses that. What you are talking about is governed by the First Amendment. I'm sorry that you don't understand the grammer and the logic of it, but most of us do, and the Supreme Court has ruled on this many times before. Maybe if you'd look at through the eyes of logic and reason rather that what you Want it to say, you'd be better served.

"America is a Christian nation. The lousy atheists and other Leftys try so hard to run afoul and say it is not."

This of course is wishful thinking on the part of a lousy Christian wingnut. Does that offend you?? Why? Your religion is nothing more than how you think, and that has no more legitimacy than any other way of thinking. Perhaps you'd like to change the flag to have a Big Fish where the stars are now? Would that make you happy?

Your religion has no elevated station in this country. The founders saw to that. There are certainly a majority of Christians in this country, but that's totally irrelevent to what kind of Government we are. We are a Secular Government in our constitution and that's what matters. The Constitution proves that no religion stands above any other. ( I thought you Righty's were all strict constitutionalists?? Guess you aren't after all.) Sorry, but there is no mention of God, let alone the Christian version of God anywhere in the Constitution. It's not even implied. I'm afraid you are SOL on that. So don't forget to go to church tomorrow, and leave the governing to more rational minds.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 4 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

Lousy Christian wingnut? STFU you pathetic atheist moron.

I do not need to write many words for an atheist jackass such as yourself.

America IS A CHRISTIAN NATION like it or not. I have written quotes and can still write quotes from what the Founding Fathers said.

Get lost punk. You people make me sick.


sacoh58 4 years ago Author

I know this is a total waste of time but I fail to see how one can create a wall of separation from "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" except as Pres. Jefferson indicated in his letter that the wall of separation is a wall protecting religions from government control and/or interference. I fail to see how those words in any way forbide the display of any religious items on Government property.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"Lousy Christian wingnut? STFU you pathetic atheist moron."

No. I don't think I will. Not after you post this: "The lousy atheists and other Leftys" So...KMA.

"I do not need to write many words for an atheist jackass such as yourself."

But it would help if you engage your brain before you post your drivel.

"America IS A CHRISTIAN NATION like it or not"

Nope...Sorry about your ignorance. But it isn't. Never was. If it were, it would have made that statement in our constitutuion. Writing in CAPS won't change that. Your religion is just another superstition that can't demonstrate itself as true. That's not something to base a nation on.

The founders knew that over 220 years ago. And you still can't understand it. What a marooooooon.

"I have written quotes and can still write quotes from what the Founding Fathers said."

Your very first quote was bogus as I pointed out. I could probably rule out a dozen others. You should avoid getting them from David Barton. He's already an exposed and discredited revisionist.

Here's just one of many quotes from the other side of the argument.

"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?

-- John Adams, letter to FA Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816

Want another?? "Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.

-- John Adams, letter to his son, John Quincy Adams, November 13, 1816, from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

Another?? "The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning.... And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.

-- John Adams, letter to John Taylor, 1814, quoted in Norman Cousins, In God We Trust: The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the American Founding Fathers (1958), p. 108, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

And that's just Adams...


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"I know this is a total waste of time but I fail to see how one can create a wall of separation from "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

Answering this is probably a waste of time, since I answered this in an post above, which you fail to respond to. But I'll try it again, and maybe if you don't understand something about what I'm saying, you can ask for further explanation. How's that??

We can start with this: ALL the property you are talking about is paid for by THE PEOPLE. That means it belongs to the taxpayer, and the taxpayers aren't all a bunch of Christians. They are all kinds of people with different beliefs. Since that property is owned by the taxpayers, anything that is placed on those grounds MUST be approved by Congress. You can't just stick some symbol there and expect everyone to go along with it. Not only is it illegal...its extremely arrogant and obnoxious not to mention, beligerant and tyrannical. It would show the government as favoring one religion over all the others. We can't have that here, and we never will. We'll end up with the very thing we were escaping from. You should be able to recognize at least that much.

As for the "Wall of Separation", it exists when you apply the First Amendment. That's what you get. A Wall between Religion and Government which is the phrase that Madison used. "Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history." James Madison Detached Memoranda.

The First Amendment does not say that Congress shall not establish a religion or create an establishment of religion. It says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Whether "respecting" means honoring or concerning, the clause means that Congress shall make no law on that subject. The ban is not just on establishments of religion but on laws respecting them, a fact that allows a law to fall short of creating an establishment yet still be unconstitutional.

It forbids not only establishments, but also any law respecting or relating to an establishment. Most importantly, it forbids any law respecting an establishment of "religion." It does not say "a religion," "a national religion," "one sect or society," or "any particular denomination of religion." It is religion generically that may not be established.

When you claim that there is nothing to prevent religious symbols from being placed on or in public buildings which would require action by congress for approval...you are establishing religion which is in violation of the establishment clause. When Judge Roy Moore attempted to place a marble monument to the 10 Commandments in the Supreme Court building in Alabama, he...a public official paid by taxpayers, attempted to establish HIS religion in the State of Alabama in violation of not only their own constitution which prohibits that kind of thing, but the US Constitution as well, since the 14th Amendment provides equal protection to All the states citizens. That is what separates religion from government.

It should be a no-brainer that we operate in this country under a constitution, NOT under Biblical Law, Sharia Law, or any other religious laws. All of our laws are rooted in reason and logic. Not in belief systems which can never demonstrate why they should be followed other than by some kind of faith basis. Religion allows for no new information. Our laws always deal with new information that shapes our real world.

Additionally, the accomodationist always looks to the Free exercize clause as if it has some greater significance. However the Supreme Court addressed this. “Freedom of religion embraces two concepts, - freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be”. Cantwell v. Connecticut. Obviously if your religious practice included human or animal sacrifice, you aren't going to be able to away with murder or animal cruelty based on your religious beliefs. You are free to believe that, but not to practice it.

Also...when examining the very wording of the amendment, you can easily see that "Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" makes absolutely no sense. Thereof what? It must refer back to the establishment clause to get its meaning. Logically, the word "thereof" must have the same content as the object to which it refers. Accordingly, what counts as "religion" for one clause must count as "religion" for the other.

What it means (if you understand grammer and basic logic) is that whatever you regard as religion for the purposes of free exercise, MUST also logically be regarded as religion for the purposes of establishment.

Here's an example ( which was stated above, and you never addressed): Private prayer and contraception are protected by the free exercise clause despite the fact that neither of these practices constitutes religions in and of themselves.

If prayer and contraception count as "religion" for the purposes of the free exercise clause, they must also count as "religion" for the purposes of the establishment clause. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a student she cannot pray, so too does it establish religion when it requires prayer to be said in the schools. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a church it must provide contraception coverage, so too does it establish religion when it makes a law that would deny contraception coverage to people based on a religious objection/exemption to those outside the realm of the church at public expense. The state does not cross the line to establishment only when it goes to the trouble and expense of setting up a state church; it crosses that line when it sets up any religious practice that constitutes "religion" for the purposes of free exercise. To the extent that Accomodationists want to read the "thereof" in the free exercise clause broadly, they must also accept a broad reading of "religion" in the establishment clause.

That is basic logic. I can only hope that you can understand that much. You cannot claim a practice of free exercize that the government must enforce without asking that the government establish religion in your favor to aquire it. The Government cannot involve itself in religious matters according to the constitutution. That's what gives you your freedom of religion, and remember..there is no freedom of religion if others cannot be free FROM yours, and they can't be free from YOURS if your placing symbols and artifacts on public grounds that everyone else is paying for.

Now, if you want to address this, do it intelligently with a logical and persuasive argument that rationally supports your view. Because that's the only kind of argument that is ever going to work.

If you are going to start putting religious symbols on public grounds you are going to end up with dozens of religious symbolism everywhere you look with each one looking to get the most favorable position. Tell me what constructive purpose that serves when the fact is that by not having anything there, all beliefs are seen as equal in the eyes of the Government.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 4 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

America is a Christian nation, stupid atheist idiot. move to Europe where retard atheists seem to have control of everything.

You wrote all that trash for what?

I could not care any lesser dimwitted atheist loser.

Burn in Hell forever.


sacoh58 4 years ago Author

Since you insist on debating words and logic then please explain these words and logic:

First while true the word Christian does not appear within the Constitution neither do the words “separation of church and state” in fact it does not appear in any of the founding documents. It was not until 1947 that the Supreme Court invoked the principle of “separation of church and state” in a legal ruling.

An earlier ruling stated “[T]he rightful purposes of civil government are for its officers to interfere [only] when [religious] principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order. In th[is] . . . is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State.” (Reynolds v. United States, 1878)

If this alleged separation was so clear why is there no use of the term in the Congressional record during the construction of the Constitution and/or the Bill of rights, specifically the first. The Congressional Records from June 7 to September 25, 1789, contain the complete discussions of the Founding Fathers surrounding their formation of the First Amendment.

If this supposed separation was so clear and intended by our Founding Fathers why did President Washington, who was in control when Congress was creating the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, when Congress asked him to issue a proclamation for a day of prayer and thanksgiving. Washington complied, without any apparent reservation regarding the constitutionality of such a move. Washington issued another, similar proclamation a few years later, after the First Amendment had been ratified. Washington and the first Congress endorsed other official uses of religion, too, both before and after the ratification of the First Amendment: the federal government hired and paid chaplains for the military and for Congress, allowed Christian missionaries to help negotiate treaties with Indian tribes, required certain officials to take oaths “so help me God,” and set aside public land for religious uses. Finally if the Founding Fathers intended for there to be a separation then why did President Washington in his Farewell Address he advocates the inclusion of religious principles throughout national and governmental policies:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars. . . . The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. . . . Let it simply be asked, “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert?” . . . And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

If the First Amendment creates a separation then why does none of the writings of Governor Morris of Pennsylvania mention or eallude to this. This is curious since it was Gov. Morris writing speak of this since it was he who physically wrote the Constitution; he was also the most active member of the Constitutional Convention (speaking 173 times on the floor of the Convention). It was Gov. Morris that took all the diverse ideas from the Convention floor and formed them into the language now appearing in that document. And yet Morris never uses that phrase; on the contrary, in his writings he states that religious principles are the basis of morality (and thus the foundation of the nation) and must be included in education:

“Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man towards God.”

What about Fisher Ames of Massachusetts since he on September 20, 1789 provided the wording for the First Amendment passed by the House of Representatives. Yet Ames never uses that phrase; on the contrary, he called for the Bible always to remain the primary textbook in America’s classrooms:

“Why . . . should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the sacred book that is thus early impressed lasts long; and, probably, if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.”

The lack of any such comments by the very people that drafted and actually wrote the Constitution is significant since you claim that it is so clear that is what the First Amendment so clearly states. Apparently they weren’t as gifted in simple logic and grammar as you claim to be.

You have inferred that religion such essentially just stay out of sight but you fail to recognize or else refuse to credit some of the significant advances in this country’s history. If it hadnb’t been for as you once said Christian wingnuts there would have been no abolitionist movement which eventually eradicated slavery since it since it was led by Christians with the Bible as their principle ideological text and even more recent the Civil Rights movement since it too was a church-based movement led by ministers quoting the Bible.

Finally the courts also do not see the First Amendment as you prefer it to read. Writing for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Suhrheinrich said the ACLU’s “repeated reference ‘to the separation of church and state’ … has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.” (ACLU of Kentucky and Bart McQueary v Mercer County Kentucky 2006)


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"America is a Christian nation, stupid atheist idiot. move to Europe where retard atheists seem to have control of everything."

Nahhh, I think I'll stay right here just so I can irritate religious nut jobs like you. You want soooooo bad for your religion to be enshrined and it won't happen. You can scream Christian Nation, until your blue in the face like a petulant child stamping his feet and holding his breath, but it won't change the fact that we're a secular nation. The Constitution is on my side on this issue, so I'm afraid you're screwed. So...ESAD. I do hope you understand that anagram.

"You wrote all that trash for what?"

Isn't it obvious??? To drive you crazy. And it worked. hehe. You're foaming at the mouth.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"First while true the word Christian does not appear within the Constitution neither do the words “separation of church and state” in fact it does not appear in any of the founding documents."

Neither do the words, Separation of Powers. Do you believe that we have that in this country?? You won't find that written into the constitution. Do you believe in Religious Freedom?? Show me where that is written into the Constitution. Those things aren't to be found, but you'd agree that they exist. Why?? You're being inconsistant, and you know it.

"It was not until 1947 that the Supreme Court invoked the principle of “separation of church and state” in a legal ruling."

I know. It was Everson v Board of Education. What's your point. That wasn't the first time that challenges to the Establishment clause took place. It was the first time the logic of Jefferson was applied. The Everson decision did this: The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this:

1.Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church.

2.Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.

3.Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.

4.No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance.

5.No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.

6.Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups, and vice versa.

Numbers 2 and 5 address your desire to enshrine religious symbols on public grounds.

"(Reynolds v. United States, 1878)"

You cite Reynolds but fail to recognize that that decision determined that Free ex was limited. Belief is not. I pointed that out as a reaffirmation in Cantwell. "“Freedom of religion embraces two concepts, - freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be”. Cantwell v. Connecticut.

This phrase in itself, "“[T]he rightful purposes of civil government are for its officers to interfere [only] when [religious] principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.", requires further explanation. What defines overt acts against peace and good order?? Do you think that starting a religious war within the country would qualify as an overt act against peace and good order?? Because I can assure you that once you begin to show preference for one religion over all the others here, you'll end up in a religious war. So, using that reasoning it makes sense to keep religion out of our government and government out of religion. You really need to fully grasp the fact that we don't legislate religion in the United States. It's very simple to understand. Not everyone shares your religious beliefs. Is it a Theocracy that you crave?? If so, you're living in the wrong country.

"If this alleged separation was so clear why is there no use of the term in the Congressional record during the construction of the Constitution and/or the Bill of rights, specifically the first. The Congressional Records from June 7 to September 25, 1789, contain the complete discussions of the Founding Fathers surrounding their formation of the First Amendment."

Because they were smart enough back then to know what it meant. Religious zealots today, either dont' "get it", or don't want to "get it". Jefferson coined the metaphore, but he wasn't the first. The first was Roger Williams. Justice Hugo Black, used the metaphore to interpret the meaning of the First Amendment: "the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation' between church and State." No one should be swayed by opponents of separation who argue that this phrase is taken out of context and that Jefferson hardly influenced the original intent of the Constitution. The entire First Amendment, written by Madison is taken from the Virginia Statutes of Religious Freedom written by Jefferson. We used the Virginia constitutution as our model for the US Constitution. But all that is a moot debate in view of the fact that over 150 years earlier Roger Williams had already coined the phrase when he warned against civil religion like that of Israel which had "opened a gap in the hedge, or wall of separation, between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world." Williams' arguments for strict separation were biblical and incontrovertible.

James Madison who is credited as the architect of the constitutution was most responsible for the First Amendment and he used the phrase Separation of religion and government. I quoted him earlier.

"If this supposed separation was so clear and intended by our Founding Fathers why did President Washington, who was in control when Congress was creating the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, when Congress asked him to issue a proclamation for a day of prayer and thanksgiving. "

Yes Washington did this. But Jefferson did not. His reasoning was this:

"I consider the government of the United States as INDICATED BY THE CONSTITUTION FROM INTERMEDDLING WITH RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS, THEIR DOCTRINES DISCIPLINES, OR EXERCISES. This results not with religion, only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that, also, which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. It must, then, rest with the States, as far as it can be in any human authority. But it is only proposed that I should RECOMMEND, not prescribe a day of fasting and prayer. That is, that I should INDIRECTLY assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises, WHICH THE CONSTITUTION HAS DIRECTLY PRECLUDED THEM FROM. It must be meant, too, that this recommendation is to carry some authority, and to be sanctioned by some penalty on those who disregard it; not, indeed, of fine and imprisonment, but of some degree of proscription, perhaps in public opinion. And does the change in the nature of the penalty make the recommendation less a law of conduct for those to whom it is directed? I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies, that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them, an act of discipline.

Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands, WHERE THE CONSTITUTION HAS DEPOSITED IT.

Written by Thomas Jefferson to the Rev. Mr. Millar

Washington, January 23, 1808

Jefferson viewed Proclamations as unconstitututional. Washington isn't he only president that has done this. If you think that no president has ever violated the constitution you're sadly mistaken. They're violation doesn't make it right. The First Amendment is taken from Jeffersons own Statutes of Religious Freedom in Virginia. He was a lawyer. Washington was not.


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"the federal government hired and paid chaplains for the military and for Congress"

True, but it was opposed by Madison who wrote the Amendment. Madison definitely came out against the system. He asked whether the fact that the Chaplains were paid by "the nation" did not involve the principle of establishment forbidden by the Bill of Rights, and also whether, since some groups like Catholics and Quakers could scarcely be elected to the office, the provision of chaplains by a majority vote were not a palpable violation of civil rights and unfair to minorities."

Madison wrote: "Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation?

The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority. To say nothing of other sects, this is the case with that of Roman Catholics & Quakers who have always had members in one or both of the Legislative branches. Could a Catholic clergyman ever hope to be appointed a Chaplain! To say that his religious principles are obnoxious or that his sect is small, is to lift the evil at once and exhibit in its naked deformity the doctrine that religious truth is to be tested by numbers or that the major sects have a tight to govern the minor. "

That's from the man that wrote the Amemdment. But what would he know about it?

"allowed Christian missionaries to help negotiate treaties with Indian tribes,"

The most popular of the Indian treaty stories involves a treaty signed by Jefferson in 1803. During his presidency Jefferson signed over forty treaties with various Indian nations. The treaty with the Kaskaskia is the only one that contained anything having to do with religion. No other Indian treaty signed by Jefferson including the other two listed by people like William Federer, contatined any mention of religion.

The third article from the 1803 treaty with the Kaskaskia said; "And whereas the greater part of the said tribe have been baptized and received into the Catholic Church, to which they are much attached, the United States will give annually, for seven years, one hundred dollars toward the support of a priest of that religion, who will engage to perform for said tribe the duties of his office, and also to instruct as many of their children as possible, in the rudiments of literature, and the United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars , to assist the said tribe in the erection of a church.

This statement is used by religious accomodationists attempting to prove that Jefferson was a devout Christian, and evidence that he wanted to promote Christianity to the Indians. Even more, it's used as evidence that he approved of using government funds to promote religion.

The problem with using this provision as evidence that TJ approved of using government funds to promote religion is that it was in a treaty with a sovereign nation. The Indians were NOT US citizens. Unless a treaty provision threatened the rights or interests of Americans, there was no constitutional reason not to allow it, even if that same provision would be unconstitutional in a law made by Congress. This was made very clear in a lengthy 1796 debate in the House of Representatives in the teaty making power, excerpts of which are available.

The problem with using the provision as evidence that Jefferson was trying to promote Christianity to the Indians is that the Kaskaskia were already Catholic, and had been for some time. Article 3 of the treaty even begins by stating that " the greater part of the said tribe have been baptized and received into the Catholic Church". The support of a priest and help building a church were provisions that the Kaskaskia asked for, not things that government recommended or pushed on them.

Almost every version of the Kaskaskia story contains a second claim that Jefferson signed two other Indian treaties that contained provisions for Christian ministers - one with the Wyandots in 1806, and one with the Cherokees in 1807. This lie usually comes in the form of an implication. The statements that the Kaskaskia treaty contained a provision for a priest in immediately followed by a phrase such as "two similar treaties were enacted during Jeffersons administration" implying of course , that the similarity was a provision for a priest.

These are the details left out of the story by people that would fabricate lies to promote their religious agenda. A good bit of advice is to recognize that Jefferson and Madison were pretty consistent people on this subject. When you find something that seems to contradict that consistency, it's best to look deeper. You'll usually uncover the truth. I could present Article IV of the 1806Treaty with the Wyandots, and Article II of the 1907 Treaty with the Cherokees both of which contain NO mention of religion at all. But it's a lot of typing. If you want to see them, however, I can provide them.

"required certain officials to take oaths “so help me God,”

I'm sorry but that is simply a lie, and you're undermining your argument by taking that route. The Constitution clearly states in Article VI " but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." I don't know where you ever heard that but, as you can see for yourself...it's total crap. I thought Right wingers were supposed to know the Constitution.

"Finally if the Founding Fathers intended for there to be a separation then why did President Washington in his Farewell Address he advocates the inclusion of religious principles throughout national and governmental policies:"

Washington no doubt firmly believed that religion is good for government. And there is nothing wrong with studying his Farewell Address in the public school system. But other statements of Washington should also be studied, to give a more complete picture of what Washington truly believed. Washington wrote the following:

"If I could now conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution... Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."

Obviously without the interference of the Government.

Thus, while Washington may have recognized the benefits of religion for the state, he also believed persons' religious preferences were a matter of individual, voluntary choice in which the government should not interfere.


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"This is curious since it was Gov. Morris writing speak of this since it was he who physically wrote the Constitution; he was also the most active member of the Constitutional Convention (speaking 173 times on the floor of the Convention). It was Gov. Morris that took all the diverse ideas from the Convention floor and formed them into the language now appearing in that document".

Actually James Madison ranks as the most influential member of the Convention which is why he earned him the nickname "Father of the Constitution" later in life.

Roger Sherman ranks second. Morris ranks 9th among those at the convention. Morris did speak the most, but that's really not what's relevant. Some founders had more influence on the outcome of these activities than others. Thomas Jefferson, for example, surely ranks as one of the 5 most influential men in the early Republic, but he was serving as Ambassador to France during the both the Constitutional Convention and the Congressional debates over the Bill of Rights . So, I would have to say that simply because Morris talked the most doesn't mean that what he said influenced the constitution in the most significant way. Suggesting that Morris is the Archetect of the Constitution contradicts historical facts. It's accepted that Madison owns that title. Don't take my word, just Google, Father of the Constitution and see for yourself.

"“Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man towards God.”

Interesting opinion, by Morris I presume, but what is it based on?? What makes it true? The problem with statements like that should be obvious. Just because the man said it doesn't make it true. Maybe you believe that, but what you believe or don't believe is really irrelevent. The only thing that matters here is can it be demonstrated as being true. Unfortunately this statement fails in that regard. Why??? Because it pre-supposes the existence of God, which can't be demonstrated as true. In order to accept what Morris says, you must first accept his position on God. That's a position that nobody can prove is real. Suppose I said, the Golden Rule is the only solid basis for good morals and should be taught in the schools. That's a philosophical and ethical position that almost every religion has adopted, but is owned by none of them exclusively. Can you find fault with that statement? It makes no mention of Gods or Deities. Show me why it isn't true.

Where does one find the words, or idea of a separation of church and state in the Constitution?

The idea is found directly in the unamended constitution, Article VI, Section III

"but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Joseph Story comments:

"The remaining part of the clause declares, that 'no religious test shall ever be required, as a qualification to any office or public trust, under the United States.' This clause is not introduced merely for the purpose of satisfying the scruples of many respectable persons, who feel an invincible repugnance to any test or affirmation. It had a higher object: to cut off forever every pretence of any alliance between church and state in the national government. The framers of the constitution were fully sensible of the dangers from this source, marked out in history of other ages and countries; and not wholly unknown to our own. They knew, that bigotry was unceasingly vigilant in its own stratagems, to secure to itself an exclusive ascendancy over the human mind; and that intolerance was ever ready to arm itself with all the terrors of civil power to exterminate those, who doubted its dogmas, or resisted its infallibility."

Joseph Story was correct. His fears are being realized right here today, by people like yourself.

"What about Fisher Ames of Massachusetts since he on September 20, 1789 provided the wording for the First Amendment passed by the House of Representatives. Yet Ames never uses that phrase; on the contrary, he called for the Bible always to remain the primary textbook in America’s classrooms."

What about Fisher Ames? On June 8, 1789, James Madison introduced into the House of Representatives what were to emerge as the religion clauses of our First Amendment. What follows are all the references to these clauses in the debate on the Bill of Rights on the floor of both Houses of the First Congress.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

Monday, June 8, 1789:

[James Madison speaking]: Fourthly. That in article 1st, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses to wit: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed.

Fifthly. That in article 1st, section 10, between clauses 1 and 2 be inserted this clause to wit: No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or freedom of the press, or trial by jury in criminal cases. (Annals of Congress, 1:434-435)

There are a number of other suggestions. Ames made his on Thursday, August 20, 1789:

On motion of MR. AMES, the fourth amendment was altered to read 'Congress shall make no law establishing religion or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.' This being adopted..." (Annals of Congress, 1:766)

The Debate continued in the Senate.

[The] amendment as submitted to the Senate...reflected a stylistic change that gave it the following reading: 'Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, nor shall the rights of conscience be infringed.' No record was left of the proceedings that brought about this stylistic change.

The Senate began deliberations on the House amendment on 3 September and continued through 9 September. The Ames amendment must have provoked controversy in the Senate, since several alternative versions were suggested in its place. In considering the House's draft, a Senate motion was first made to strike out 'religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' and to insert, 'one religious sect or society in preference to others.' The motion was rejected, and then passed. Thus, the first new Senate version read, 'Congress shall make no law establishing one religious sect or society in preference to others, nor shall the rights of conscience be infringed.'

After further debate, the Senate rejected two alternative wordings. First, they rejected language providing, 'Congress shall not make any law, infringing the rights of conscience, or establishing any Religious Sect or Society." Second, they rejected the language providing, "Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination of religion in preference to another, or prohibiting free exercise thereof, nor shall the rights of conscience be infringed.'

Later the same day, 3 September, the Senate adopted a draft the treated religion more generically. 'Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' Six days later, the Senate again changed its mind and adopted as its final form of the amendment, 'Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.'

The Senate version of the Amendment was sent to the House, which rejected it.

A House-Senate joint conference (Madison, Sherman, Vining representing the House, Ellsworth, Carroll, Paterson representing the Senate) was then created to resolve the disagreement over the religion amendment. A compromise amendment was eventually agreed upon as reported under the date of September 24, 1789.

September 24, 1789:

The House proceeded to consider the report of a committee of conference, on the subject matter of the amendments depending between the two houses to the several articles of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as proposed by this House; whereupon, it was resolved, that they recede from their disagreement to all the amendments; provided that the two articles, which, by the amendments of the Senate, are now proposed to be inserted as the third and eighth articles shall be amended to read as follows: Article three, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

On the motion, it was resolved, that the President of the United States be requested to transmit to the Executives of the several States which have ratified the constitution, copies of the amendments proposed by Congress, to be added thereto and like copies to the Executives of Rhode Island and North Carolina. (Annals of Congress, 1:913-914)

This is from the Annals of Congress. Obviously Ames version was not the final version. I don't know who told you that, but it's false. I'm assuming that truth matters to you, so now you can judge for yourself.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"Why . . . should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the sacred book that is thus early impressed lasts long; and, probably, if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.”

And this is from Fisher Ames? Ames was a staunch Calvinist, opposed the American Founders, arguing that Liberty leads to immorality and the corruption of Christianity. This notion is based in the Calvinistic teaching of Total Depravity of the human soul, which, according to Calvinistic dogma, means that even human behavior can never be anything other than completely wicked -- unless the humans in question are placed under the strict rule of a Calvinistically interpreted Biblical law.

It's not surprising that Ames would be making such statements. The most important actions by Fisher Ames were his long-standing wars against the "destructive" philosophies of democracy, the enlightenment and the sovereignty of man. Ames said this, "democracy will kindle its own hell, and consume in it.” Finally, “Liberty has never lasted long in a democracy; nor has it ever ended in any thing better than despotism.” He was not admired by Jefferson. Historically, Fisher Ames is best known for his opposition to Jeffersonian democracy.

He believed that all men were sinners! He believed that law and morality should not be decided by majority vote but upon the higher principles of the Bible because as a dedicated Christian he believed that the Bible was the true source of wisdom. He believed that our nation would be much more stable if it were a constitutional republic with a constitution rooted in the principles of the Bible. He'd fit right in with today's Religious Right.

Fisher Ames was an outspoken supporter of the Bible's central role in all of education. He believed the Bible, being the Word of God, should be at the very center of school curriculum. Your quote illustrates that.

Calvinism, is the very antithesis of Jeffersonian Democracy, of the Human Liberty espoused by Franklin, Paine, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and all the leaders of the movement that ended up winning the American Revolution.

"The lack of any such comments by the very people that drafted and actually wrote the Constitution is significant since you claim that it is so clear that is what the First Amendment so clearly states. Apparently they weren’t as gifted in simple logic and grammar as you claim to be."

I disagree. The comments by Jefferson and Madison regarding church and state are very well documented even before the advent of the first Amendment. Madisons Memorial and Remonstrance and Jeffersons Statutes for Religious Freedom in Virginia should tell you all you need to know. The fact that Jefferson made the metaphorical Wall statement, and Madison said, "Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history are clear evidence on their views. I happen to understand the logic of their intentions. I understand the rules of grammer, and I pointed to that earlier. The ONLY way to insure religious freedom is through a separation of Church and State. Without it, Religious freedom is impossible. I find it ridiculously easy to understand, and I honestly can't believe that others can't figure this out, which leads me to suspect that actually...they can, but choose not to. And the reason is because they actually want a Christian Nation like whats-his-name who claims I'm an atheist idiot lefty and should leave my own country for his sake and the sake of HIS religion. This guy is right out of the 1600's Salem MA. They frankly don't give a damn about anyone elses rights or religious freedom. In fact, they don't actually endorse Religious Freedom at all. They really seek religious tyranny, just like we had in Colonial times, because if they had their way...that would be the result. People like myself stand in the way of that. And that pisses off a lot of religious zealots.

"You have inferred that religion such essentially just stay out of sight but you fail to recognize or else refuse to credit some of the significant advances in this country’s history."

Out of sight??? Really? There are churches on every street corner. They have their own TV and Radio Networks, and the have some of our congress by the throat. And you think this is out of sight?? I don't dispute religions place in history. It's pretty bloody when you think about it. Religious wars, and Inquisitions. Religion hasn't advanced society. That's not it's job. It doesn't admit new information. It's dogmatic. Not open to new ideas. I think ML King helped bring racism and it's ugliness to our awareness. But I think religion overall is simply repressive and frankly useless. I honestly don't care what people believe. That's their business. I just object to legislating beliefs. I choose not to live under somebody elses belief system, whether it's Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or any other.

"If it hadnb’t been for as you once said Christian wingnuts there would have been no abolitionist movement which eventually eradicated slavery since it since it was led by Christians with the Bible as their principle ideological text and even more recent the Civil Rights movement since it too was a church-based movement led by ministers quoting the Bible."

But it's also religion that justified slavery and segregation, and has issues with Gays, which kind of shows the Schizophrenic contradictory nature of the beast. It stands against things like birth control. It stands in opposition to science. Then again it opposes the Ryan Plan for the budget. Go figure.

"Finally the courts also do not see the First Amendment as you prefer it to read. Writing for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Suhrheinrich said the ACLU’s “repeated reference ‘to the separation of church and state’ … has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.” (ACLU of Kentucky and Bart McQueary v Mercer County Kentucky 2006)"

First of all, ONE judge on the Circuit Court is NOT "The courts". The very idea that a precedent in the Supreme Court that has been enforced over and over, is something that makes a judge on the 6th Circuit regard it as tiresome, tells me more about the judge and his ability to apply logic. I have no idea of who that judge is. We have a lot of idiots that sit on the courts. I count Scalia as one of them. Allito is another. Scalia isn't really an idiot. He's an ideologue. His political views usually dictate his rulings. Allito however is an idiot.


AChristianNation 4 years ago

adagio4639

I do not know if these atheists and Left Wing idiots here at Hubpages or even sacoh58 banned me, but it is funny.

See, idiots like adagio4639 is why America is going down hill. Liberalism is a mental disorder. And God does exist. Do not attempt to contact me. I do not make replies anymore due to Left Wing bias and ignorance.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 4 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

I know.


RAK 4 years ago

In addition to these arguments about the framers’ intentions and religiosity, there is another question I believe worth considering: Should we as a society actively promote cultural and historical revisionism? Take, for example, the matter of removing the commandments from the court house walls in order to uphold the principle (conceding the point for the sake of argument) of separation of church and state. Such an action denies that we have a history and that at one time there was a generally broad consensus that the ten commandants were good and proper reminders of what undergird civil society. These commandments, it was largely agreed, served to provide gravitas to a place where the serious business of justice is discharged; recognizing that law, its enforcement and due process are extensions of basic precepts with deep historical roots. For one religion or the secular humanists to take offense at the display of Ten Commandments on public property and demand their removal strikes me as only a lesser version --but existing on the same continuum– that affords the spectacle a radical religious sect infamously blowing up ancient Buddhist monuments. Other instances of revisionism from the secular humanist sphere also come to mind. The United States has a history and it built its public monuments and building without any of the malice that today’s cultural revisionists would have us believe. Moreover, there will be other monuments built and other courthouse erected and these too will reflect the times. But the impetus of some to erase the past, to revise history so that it better resembles current thinking is nothing more than a fetish for consistency; and something to be feared far more than having your case heard in view of the ten commandments.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds R.W.E.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"The United States has a history and it built its public monuments and building without any of the malice that today’s cultural revisionists would have us believe."

We definitely have a history, but I know of no public monuments to any religion. Do you? All of our monuments are secular in nature. We don't enshrine any religion in this country.

"These commandments, it was largely agreed, served to provide gravitas to a place where the serious business of justice is discharged;"

Largely agreed by who? Most likely by those that subscribe to the religion they represent. For these people to make value judgements on what passes for "gravitas" is presumptuous. The serious business of justice doesn't require religious symbolism to make its point. That only serves to hang the spectre of dogma over a process that is strictly constitutional. Look at this and tell me what the first 5 have to do with our laws in this country.

1.Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2.Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,

3.Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain;

4.Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

5.Honour thy father and thy mother:

None of these are laws in this country.

and this one, which is the essence of capitalism:

10.Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, etc. Coveting what we don't have is what drives our economy. We all want what we don't have.

It's a religious statement. Not a constitutional statement of law.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"For one religion or the secular humanists to take offense at the display of Ten Commandments on public property and demand their removal strikes me as only a lesser version "

Since you're talking about public property, you know that you're talking about something provided by tax payers. You seem to think that anybody taking offense at your insistance on displaying your religious artifacts on property that they are paying for, is somehow being intolerant. It never seems to occur to you that you just might be taking on a completely arrogant position of entitlement of your beliefs which you feel needs official endorsement by the state. You don't think that this is presumptuous on your part? The public property doesn't belong to you. It belongs to everyone. You don't get to use it for your own personal religious displays. Aside from the constitutional issues...it's really obnoxious.


RAK 4 years ago

Since neither of the two answers above address the issue raised about the danger of revisionism, I reiterate:

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds R.W.E.

Let's erase our history, because you find it obnoxious, presumably because being obnoxious or not being it obnoxious should be the principle that guides our social mores. Of course being, "really obnoxious" is just unforgiveable. With this “reasoning,” can stoning be far behind? I’d really like to hear from someone who can thoughtfully address the issue of revisionism and, perhaps, the psychological underpinnings of those who feel compelled to indulge in this kind of cleansing of the past.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

We don't need to erase our history at all, and nobody is suggesting that we do. It's quite mixed with greatness and some things that aren't so great. We recognize it and hopefully we learn from our mistakes.

As for being obnoxious, I'm referring to trying to impose your beliefs on everyone in the public square. It has no place there. We don't pay taxes for the promotion of your religious beliefs. As for addressing the issue of revisionism, that's exactly what I've been doing on this thread. Addressing revisionism.

"With this “reasoning,” can stoning be far behind?"

You tell me. That's always been the tactic of religious fundimemtalists, not those that would keep religion and government separated. Historical revisionism is the pet project of people like David Barton and others of his ilk that would present a history that never happened in order to impose a religious theocratic form of government.

There was logic behind the first amendment. Jefferson understood it. So did Madison. Ours was the first democratic state that separated religion and government. It was understood that it was the only way to insure religious freedom. It's worked for 230 years. People like yourself would change that, to give one religion a special status in this country. Symbols in the public square to elevate it in the eyes of the public. Monuments to your belief in the Supreme Court building in Montgomery Alabama. 10 commandments plaques in our courtrooms and school houses. Prayer in schools. All designed to erode the very thing that we value the most. Freedom of religion. I can't be free to enjoy my own, unless I'm free from yours. If you recall, that was the very reason the Pilgrims came here. To be free from the religion of the King.

My advice is to enjoy your religion. Just don't try to legislate it on others.


libertyordeath19 profile image

libertyordeath19 17 months ago

Very good read! Informative and factual!


Christopher Jay T profile image

Christopher Jay T 14 months ago from Fort Worth, TX

The establishment clause means the Government can no Establish a State religion. So therefrore it may not endorse any religion and having religious symbols on government property qualifies as endorsing a religion . So, yes separation of church and state is implied .

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